About the Language


The Pomo basket on the main page and subsequent pages was made by Clara Williams in 1943, of white sedge and red bud, with a silver willow frame.

Northern Pomo, one of seven distinct Pomo languages, was spoken in Northern California for thousands of years. Because of conquest and colonization by European settlers and government language policies, the language is no longer fluently spoken. This website is part of a project to archive and make available materials on the Northern Pomo language to support revitalization efforts.

Pomoan languages map

These materials include voice recordings of the late Edna Campbell Guerrero and Elenor Stevenson Gonzales (pictured below), both native speakers of Northern Pomo.

Pictured above (left to right): Edna Campbell Guerrero; Elenor Stevenson Gonzales

The current project is supported in part by a grant from the NEH/NSF Documenting Endangered Languages program (FN-50107-12) to Catherine O'Connor, which is gratefully acknowledged. Views expressed in this material are the work of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. National Science Foundation or the National Endowment for the Humanities. This material may not be sold and no charges may be made for its use.

These materials would not exist without their patience, dedication, and hard work. The recordings were made by Catherine O'Connor between 1979 and 2005.

Edna Campbell Guerrero lived in Potter Valley until her death in 1995. Her father's mother was from Sherwood Valley, in a band called shibal dano pʰoʔmaʔ. Her mother had relatives from all over the area, including Ukiah and to the south. Elenor Stevenson Gonzales was an elder of the Pinoleville Rancheria. In her later years she lived in Santa Rosa with her daughter and grandchildren until her death in 2005.


How to Use the Website

On this website you will find a variety of different entryways into the Northern Pomo language. For many people, exploring a new language can be overwhelming, so take it one step at a time. There is no right or wrong way to use these materials. You do not have to use all of the sections, and you do not have to use them in any particular order!

Word and Pictures    An easy way in to these materials is through the mobile apps. Using your phone or a tablet you can scroll through pictures. Tap on the picture to hear the word spoken by an elder who was a fluent speaker, and to see how the word is written.

To download the Android or iOS version of the app, click the "Links to Mobile Apps" on the Main Menu page of the website.


Sounds and letters    After you have gotten used to listening to Northern Pomo words, you may want to learn more about how they are written. You may also have noticed that there are many sounds in Northern Pomo that don't occur in English. In the "Sounds and Letters" section you can get more practice in hearing the sounds and saying them.

There are three parts to the Sounds and Letters section. The first is a chart that allows you to click on a letter and hear the corresponding sound.


The next two parts contain videos that will help you hear and recognize the different sounds that are important in Northern Pomo. To see what these videos are like, take a look at this example.


Learning with Flashcards    This section contains...


Everyday Expressions    Some people may just want to learn a few useful everyday expressions, like "How are you?" or "Whatcha doin'?" The "Everyday Expressions" page contains short videos (just a minute or two) that give you a chance to learn how the expression works. Click here to see an example.


Talking Dictionary    This Northern Pomo dictionary contains sound files of fluent speakers saying individual words. You can search for English words by typing them into the search box. All examples related to that word will then be shown below the picture.

In the example below, the user typed in the word "fish". Two entries were returned - "fish" and "little grilled fish."


The user then clicks on one of these and is taken to a sheet containing all the examples.

Each example contains a sound file that can be played by clicking on the arrow. In the example here, three speakers say the word for "knee." Each speaker's initials are listed next to the sound file. To learn more about the speakers, click here.


Phrasicon    The Phrasicon contains examples of phrases and sentences, taken from recordings of three Northern Pomo elders who were fluent speakers.

The Phrasicon can be searched using English or using Northern Pomo.

You may have noticed that some entries in the Talking Dictionary contain a link in blue, that says "Example phrases (phrasicon)."

This link will take the user to a list of any examples in the Phrasicon that contain that word. For example, if you click the link in the entry for "water" (see below), it will take you to a page containing these examples in the Phrasicon.

You may also notice that some entries in the Phrasicon have Northern Pomo words containing a link in green. This link will take the user to the entry in the Talking Dictionary containing that word. For example, if you click the link in the Phasicon entry containing "xa" (see right), it will take you to a page with the entry for "water" in the Talking Dictionary.


Stories and Texts    This section contains videos that feature stories and texts as spoken by Edna Campbell Guerrero. Each video shows the words written in Northern Pomo, as she says them, along with the translation in English. Along with each video is a printable version of the text with the translation. For an example, click here.


Contributors

Many thanks are due to all the individuals who contributed to this project. As stated above, these materials would not exist without the patience, kindness, good humor and hard work of the late Edna Campbell Guerrero and Elenor Stevenson Gonzales.

Gratitude is expressed to these individuals, who contributed their diligence and organizational abilities to the preparation and archiving of the Northern Pomo materials over the past ten years (in alphabetical order):

Amy Rose Deal
Kathryn Franich
Christina Weaver
Andrea Zukowski

Many thanks to the following individuals, who have contributed their talent, creativity and hard work to the current website project (in alphabetical order):

Elizabeth Grillo
Edwin Ko
Elodie Paquette
Ethan Rimdzius

The current project is supported in part by a grant from the NEH/NSF Documenting Endangered Languages program (FN-50107-12) to Catherine O'Connor, which is gratefully acknowledged. Previous grants from the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities supported data collection in 1990s. Views expressed in this material are the work of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. National Science Foundation or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This material may not be sold and no charges may be made for its use.

x & h

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Whatcha doing?

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Dinner Blessing

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